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War of Attrition at Solden
Monday, October 25, 2010

Yesterday, I woke up after a full night of sleep ready for Solden. I wasn’t nervous. I was just excited. We drove up in Adam’s – the physio of the USST – rig and got into a heated confrontation with one of the police officers when we reached the crucial point of

where to park. I think he was disappointed to be merely a parking lot attendant yesterday. The police officer jumped in front of our car, slammed his hands into the hood making sure we stopped as he yelled, all in German, of how we couldn’t possibly continue because we didn’t have the correct parking pass to go to our allocated warm up room. We were in a brand new Audi A4 s-line with ski team logos all over it, but to him that didn’t cut it. After some entertaining yelling we finally preceded on, but the police officer took down Adam’s name and license number because he claimed we hit them. Apparently, jumping out in front of a vehicle at the last second is proper protocol. We stopped before there was much contact. I was pretty fired up that it wasn’t me in the driver’s seat.

During inspection, the hill didn’t look nearly as painfully steep as I remembered it last year. When you don’t have much of a chance to ski on a hill before a race it’s easy to make a pitch look steep and scary, especially this one. It’s steep, but I was psyched to have so much time free skiing on it a week earlier. The course was pretty straight up top, then had a pretty big left footer onto the first pitch, a good consistent rhythm down to the second roll where the real pitch started. That’s where you need to be over your skis or you’re day is a short one. Nine gates later there was a big left footed undergate, which represented the time to start ripping onto the flats to carry speed to the finish. It was half way down the main pitch when I caught Massimiliano Blardone staring at my carbon ski boots for the second time. I couldn’t help myself, I had to say, “Don’t be afraid, come on over, and check em out.” The Italian GS specialist merely mumbled something under his breath and almost cracked a smile when he turned and looked down the course with all the intensity in the world. His ski pants were mostly zipped off and his jacket was completely unzipped from what seemed to be heat radiating from his intense inspection. The course looked very rip able; I was happy with the set.

I took a couple runs in the training course, got a pretty good feeling on my skis, and went down near the finish to watch a few of the first guys before I went up for my run. I watched Jansurd and Janka. They made it abundantly clear that the course was already in terrible shape. It was a war of attrition. The snow wasn’t holding up. It looked like a bit of a rodeo from the start, which was only going to get worse. It’s nice to get focused on a new mental challenge and know what to expect so I was happy I watched.

I caught the next ride up the gondola and hung out at the top. With my new points, I started 34 just after the three, 500 pointers, they are the guys that have a ton of World Cup points from last season that aren’t ranked in the top 30 in the world in GS. Bode was starting 33 so it was really nice to be part of the race. When you start deep in the field it’s easy to feel like you’re racing in a completely different competition. In the start, I was fired up and had a solid plan. Pin the top flat and bring as much intensity as possible all the way down the hill. There is no substitute for intensity down that pitch or in World Cup. Dane Spencer put it best, “The only option is bringing 100 percent intensity or you just go home at… like 11 o’clock.”

I pushed out of the gate, jumped into my bully and started cutting off the line. On the first big left footer I took the turn really far across the hill, dropped my knees in, and snapped off a good turn. Down that pitch I linked it up nicely and got ready for the real pitch. The first right footer going onto it there were huge chunder holes or shelves. The next nine gates were an act of survival and nothing more. I brought a ton of intensity, but came out really late into the delay (long turn) and struggled for the next four to five gates to get back to the front of my boot before rolling onto the flat. At that moment, all I could think was noooooooooo I should be crushing right here, but I’m sucking. Damn it. I came onto the flat without much speed and hammered my edges in a couple time and slowly crept down to the finish line. I ended up finishing a bit under a second off qualifying, which was pretty painful. But looking through the list of racers from yesterday, no one is hurt and there are a bunch of guys that are back from injury from the last three years. The GS racers right now are a very very solid group of skis. I was right around Marcus Sandell, JP Roy, Alberto Schieppati, and Robbie Dixon in 47th place. It a wake up call that reiterates how important it is to take Dane’s advice.

Only Ted and Bode fared well during the race. Ted was in second a hundredth off the lead and Bode was in 23rd almost two seconds off the pace. Will Gregorak had a great first split and put together a solid performance for his World Cup debut. Tommy Ford fell on the first pitch, Jitloff said he just never got into the rhythm of the course, and Nolan Casper was stuck in the fog the whole way down. His facebook status is, “my apologies for the visual diarrhea that was my run.” After first run, we hung around for a couple hours to cheer on our crew, until they pulled the plug due to fog. With the snow that bad it was the right decision to end the race. No one got hurt and everyone will get to fight another day.

The ski team all flew home today. Jon and I are in Innsbruck right now hanging out with Hans Olsson waiting for the snow to subside. It’s been dumping ever since mid afternoon yesterday so training right now is looking like a less and less likely program. Ugh, but Jon and I picked up a couple new pairs of skis – the version that Bode, Aksel, and Truls are using. I really want a couple more days on the pitch at Solden there just isn’t anything around that is that steep.

Hope all is well back home and I wish that I had better news from the slopes. Special thanks to Ben Drummond for being my tech at the start and it was a pleasure to get to see Paul Fremont Smith a few times over the weekend. And here is a picture that Mitchell Gunn/sportsphotographer.eu took of me during the race.

Cheers, w

posted by Warner at 10/25/2010 02:17:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Solden steeps, Jimmy's ankle, and Monaco
Saturday, October 16, 2010

In Munich, I waited for just over four hours before they found me a ride. It way cheaper to use Buchbinder rather than one of the big chain compaines so it was definitely worth the wait. That night I stayed with Lioinman, aka Hans Olsson, for the night in his pad in Innsbruck, skied at Stubai the next day, picked up Jon at the airport in Innsbruck and moved into an apartment in Solden.

Bode and Ted have been over here for the last week and change. Jimmy was here, but his ankle that he broke water skiing this summer wasn’t functioning properly so he flew home to get more surgery. Total bummer. Hopefully, he will still be able to savage a season, but it doesn’t look good for him right now. It's exceptionally painful news for me since I brokered his trade of snow skis for one of Jamie Beauchesne's, the current world record holder, slalom skis. I traded a pair too and his slalom ski is insane. Just ask my brother, he used it all summer. Anyway, the rest of the ski team arrived on Thursday and had their first day training GS at Stubai yesterday.

I was invited to work in with those guys, but instead I spent the last three days free skiing on the race hill at Solden. Luckily, the race hill has been open for skiing the last three days. They had a couple snow guns on it and haven’t groomed it for at least three days so it’s really grippy. My best chance to score points next Sunday at the World Cup Season Opener is in my eyes to spend as much time on that hill as possible. I forgot how damn steep it is, but it was really nice to work on my steeps skiing without gates. For the first two days, it felt a lot like my performance there last year – totally sucking. However, yesterday I really feel like I made some huge strides. I was skiing with my hip almost on the snow and trying to be super forward. It gave me a chance to slide a bit at the top of the turn before turning it into an arc. I’ve been decent at throwing my skis sideways with a stivit, but the other approach is much faster. So I’m pretty fired up about it. We took 6 runs on the race hill yesterday and I was going up for a 7th when it was closed. I think free skiing on the race hill is over until it’s open for less than an hour next week before the race once it’s injected with water.

It was great to get so much time on it. Anyway, weather was coming in for the weekend so Jon and I got off the hill and ripped down to Monaco. The seven hour drive was a lot longer than I would have liked, but waking up in Monaco looking out at the ocean made it all worth it. What a pleasant change of scenery. I went for a run, did some core, and swam this morning. Now I think it’s nap time. It’s so nice to finally have a day off to catch up on things. Jon and Crill are here going nuts about the TV Show. Jon has a ton of voice over work to do and since it’s all in Swedish I can’t help, which makes this day amazing. Not to mention, Jon wants to do all of the producing himself so my job as director is obsolete making my day infinitely better.

We will either drive north tomorrow or Monday depending on the US Team’s training schedule and weather. I’ll ski with them for three days and then go from there. Planning too far ahead is for the birds.

Hope you’re all doing well, w

posted by Warner at 10/16/2010 10:39:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

J/80 Worlds and Solden
Monday, October 11, 2010

The last couple weeks were insane. I was home for two weeks after New Zealand to hammered out the golf classic, work on Pressure getting her ready for J/80 Worlds, raced for four crazy days in Newport, RI, packed up the boat, unpacked the boat, packed up ski stuff, picked up some Dodge boots and some Boosters straps, and flew to Munich. I was home for one night after Worlds, which seemed like a few seconds.

J/80 Worlds was spectacularly fun. 62 boats in 20-35 knots of breeze made for four outrageously exciting days. On one downwind leg we were on port tack (without any rights) as we crossed (or went in front of) two boats on starboard tack by only six to ten feet, while all of us were ripping at 12 - 16 knots planning downwind. At those speeds situations with other boats arise extremely quickly. My thought process was I think we’ve got em, we’ve definitely got em, oh god I hope we have em. All I could do was stare at their bowsprit that looked more like a medieval Knights jousting pole than anything else. When we were going 12 knots, it felt like we were standing still. We don’t have a speedometer on Pressure, but Lifted a boat with one said they hit 20.2 knots going downwind in the last race. It was so fun.

After the race, both boats we crossed smiled and waved to us impressed or stunned by our aggressive tactics that barely paid off, we ended up beating both boats to the finish. There were six New Hampshire boats from Fleet 1 on Lake Winnipesaukee that were represented in the Worlds More Gostosa, Gallant Fox, FKA, and Argo III all had very respectable results finishing 28th, 32nd, 35th, and 39th, respectively. My goal was to finish mid-fleet, but after loosing a protest, being over early at a start, and not having any boat speed upwind we finished 43rd. Jason Blais on Wave Theory, the other NH boat, ended up finishing a few places behind us. I love sailing on the lake, but down in Newport, RI we learned so much in four days than we would have in a season on the lake. All the boats were so tricked out with the newest masts, vangs, sails, and everything else it was just fun to be part of it. Not to mention, it was great to stay with my Mom and Dennis for the week. There nothing like home cooked meals and bag lunches from Mom. It was exhausting and amazing all in one. Two boats ended up breaking their masts, countless boats ripped their spinnaker chutes, and a bunch of boats lost or broke their halyards. It was a tough week to be a J/80.

Right now, I’m sitting in Munich at Starbucks rocking the free Internet waiting for my plan to come together. In the baggage claim, I randomly ran into Leif Haugan and one of his coaches and just outside in the Erdinger Sportsbar – the best place to eat breakfast in the Munich airport – I ran into Wolfi, my old coach with SRI. It’s funny how everyone rolls into Munich around the same time. Wolfi was laughing at me, as I didn’t have a sweet plan. I send out an email yesterday about getting a rental car from Buchbinder who has great deals on rental vehicles for ski teams here in Munich, but it was such short notice that he didn’t even read my email until I called him this morning. Wolfi and Leif are long gone as I sit here in the Sportsbar hammering coffee, trying to stay awake, and waiting for my plan to come together. I’ve been talking to Hermann at Buchbinder every hour and he keeps telling me that he’s working on it and hold tight; but regardless, one way or another it will certainly work out. When I get a ride, I’m off to Innsbruck most likely since the new skis I was going to pick up in Bregenz, Austria at the Head Factory aren’t ready for another few days. So the no plan plan is starting to come together hahaha. Don’t worry I have other skis, I just want to try some new ones that Aksel, Ted, and Jansurd are using. Thanks to the free Starbucks wireless nearby I’m not too bored. I have to admit it’s really nice to have a few hours of down time after being full-speed ahead the whole time I was home.

Ted, Bode, and Jimmy are either in Saas Fe or Solden right now and I’ll be able to catch up with them soon. The ski team has given me a spot to race in Solden in the World Cup Season Opener in two weeks and they have opened the door for training so that will be really nice. I still think I’m going to do a ton of free skiing and work in with those guys when it suits me best.

Hope that phone call comes thru soon.

Cheers, w

posted by Warner at 10/11/2010 07:22:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Golf Classic Success!!
Monday, October 04, 2010

Last Wednesday we had an absolutely perfect day of golf at the Owl’s Nest Golf Club in Campton, NH. It rained pretty much every single day last week, but on Wednesday it was ideal golf conditions. We had 101 players and raised $20,407. A special thanks goes out to all the sponsors of the event: Owl’s Nest Golf Club, Spinnaker Contract Manufacturing, Booster Strap, Northern Design Precast, Belknap Landscaping, He’s Baaack, Millennium Motor Sales, Kitchen Encounters, Gunstock Ski Area, MC Cycle and Sport, Kjus Clothing, Sunday River Mountain Resort, Diamond Shine, Fast Strap, Loon Mountain, Cranmore Mountain, Nippo Lake Country Club, Laconia Country Club, Bockstock Law, Ragged Mountain, Ted Ligety, Jimmy Cochran, Jon Olsson, Holmenkol Wax, Indian Head Restaurant, and Lafayette Dinner Train among others.

$10,204.00 is going to the LWSA to support the Dave Adam’s Memorial Sailing Center, $6,122.00 goes to support my season, and $4,081.00 goes to help the Gunstock Ski Club keep young athletes in the NH skiing.

Loon Point Appraisal, comprised Steve Selig, Tom Stecher, Mike Lee and Randy Annis, won the Classic finishing 15 strokes under par!! Best dressed went to Team Brawn Bay Mia Whalley, John Walley, Ryan Lanridge and Steve Perras for wearing their hilarious pink Brawn Bay tribute shirts.

Thanks to all that took part and helped. We had a spectacular day.

Ever since the Golf Classic, I’ve been working on getting Pressure ready for J/80 Worlds. We’re in Newport, RI staying with my mom doing last minute preparation on the boat today gearing up for 4 days of sailing with over 60 boats on the starting line in 30 knots of breeze. Intensity here we come!!!

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 10/04/2010 08:07:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments